Child abuse. What images come to mind when you hear those words? Maybe you think of a parent beating children with a Hot Wheels track, or burning them with a cigarette? How about sexually abusing and causing psychological damage through sinister intimidation? Yeah. I think of those things, too.
It never would have occurred to me that any parent–natural or step–would neglect and abuse children by having them sleep among cat feces and carcasses, and millions of flies. But when you Google “cat feces and flies” photographs of a sick and twisted Denver couple comes up along with details of how authorities found four starving boys, ages 2 – 6 in only diapers, unable to speak recognizable language. These parents are monsters of the most grotesque kind.
Some background info:
Last year about this time the Denver couple was investigated when police and human services conducted a welfare check for cause.
The following excerpt about the discovery appeared in the New York Daily News:
A Denver couple kept their four underfed boys in an apartment covered in cat feces and urine, despite losing custody of three other children in the past, authorities and court records said.
Wayne Sperling and Lorinda Bailey face felony child-abuse charges after authorities rescued the boys, ages 2 to 6, from the filthy home.
The boys couldn’t speak and communicated by grunting and pointing, authorities said. They were not potty trained and lived inside a den of trash and flies.
Fast forward to November 2014, h/t Charlotte Observer:
A father whose four young sons could communicate only in grunts when authorities rescued them from a filthy Denver apartment could spend up to seven years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to felony child abuse.
Prosecutors agreed to drop all other charges against Wayne Sperling, 67, in exchange for his guilty plea. He will be sentenced on Dec. 30.
The boys were aged 2 to 6 when they were removed from their home last October. An emergency room doctor suspected abuse when the youngest was taken to the hospital for a cut on his forehead. The doctor noticed that the boy was unwashed, reeked of cigarette smoke and had bruises consistent with pinching.
Authorities then discovered Sperling, his wife and the boys living in an apartment filled with cat feces and flies.
Prosecutors called it one of the most horrific cases they had ever seen, but the state’s child abuse laws kept them from pursuing harsher penalties because the children did not suffer serious physical injuries.
Prosecutors said the boys are improving while living together in the care of their foster mother. They have never asked about their parents.
“Considering what they’ve gone through, they’re doing remarkably well,” Denver District Attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said Thursday. That the boys are living together has “helped them in their ability to try to recover from the horrifying neglect they were living in.”
Sperling’s wife, Lorinda Bailey, was sentenced last week to 90 days in jail and five years of probation after pleading guilty to child abuse.
Detective Teresa Gessler testified in Bailey’s case that all the surfaces in the family’s apartment were covered with dead or living flies and that about an inch of solidified cat feces covered with urine lay beneath one of the children’s beds.
After they were rescued and given bagged lunches to eat, the boys acted as if they hadn’t seen normal food before, Gessler testified. They patted the sandwiches and played with the apples. After an adult mimed eating an apple to encourage them to eat, they licked the fruit, she said.
Isn’t that one of the saddest stories you’ve ever heard. But, wait, there’s more.
Here’s the kicker: In 2006 Sperling and Bailey lost custody of their three children–yes, three OTHER children. Back then the couple was ordered to go to parenting classes, and pay a hefty $677 fine.
The punishment clearly didn’t fit the crime. And, the monsters replaced those rescued children with a new litter, only to subject them to a rerun of wicked behavior. These parents should have been put in solitary confinement . . . in diapers . . . with cats and flies.
At least that way they couldn’t have procreated. Some monsters shouldn’t.